If you find yourself speaking to small or large groups of people – even once in a while – you will want to read this.
If you train, teach, speak or deliver reports to a group of people, these six helpful revelations about what goes on inside the mind of every audience member will help you best at your best.
And each are backed up by scientific research.
Speaking Coach Bryan Kelly shares these six “secrets” from years of interviews and research.
Here are the six secrets:
1. We follow leaders. When you’re the presenter, you’re given authority. The audience wants and expects you to lead them. What you do next is vital so you don’t lose their allegiance. Become a leader from the start and own it. Stanley Milgram’s controversial experiments in the early 1960s showed it’s very hard for most of us to resist authority. We’re simply wired to follow leaders.
2. We instantly read people. Audience members size you up before you even speak, which makes it essential to carefully design your opening. A well-crafted introduction and confident body language inspire people to follow your lead throughout the presentation. The past 15 years of psychological study shows people make unconscious decisions about others in one second or less. Malcolm Gladwell explores this research in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.
3. We assign meaning to body movement. Knowing how to stand, move, gesture, and deal with nervousness conveys leadership, passion, and openness. Stand straight, head upright, breathe deeply, and record yourself on camera when rehearsing. Intentional practice leads to confidence. A 2009 study conducted by Pablo Brinol revealed that by simply taking a posture of confidence, people feel more confident. In her 2011 book, The Silent Language of Leaders, Carol Kinsey Goman explains how physical gestures help us be effective leaders.
4. We pay attention to vocal tone. The way you say a phrase means as much or more as the words themselves. Great speakers have long utilized this secret to engage audiences through volume, modulation, articulation, and well-placed pauses. MIT professor Alex Pentland summarized his study of nonverbal communication in his 2008 book, Honest Signalsand helped create a device called the Sociometer that monitors and predicts a person’s communication effectiveness.
5. We imitate emotions. Two highly contagious emotions are passion and nervousness. Think hard about what you’d like people to feel, then exhibit that emotion. Those feelings will be conveyed through your voice and body language. Mirror neurons in our brain allow us to literally experience what others experience. It’s believed these neurons help us empathize with someone. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran’s 2012 book, The Tell-Tale Brain, details the significance of these neurons and how they work.
6. We sync brain patterns when listening. Our audience is more strongly affected by listening than by reading slides. Visuals should support what you’re saying, not interfere. Better to have people intently listening than distracted by bullet points and complex charts. A 2010 study by Greg Stephens put participants in an fMRI machine while listening to someone talking. The brain patterns of the listener began to sync with the speaker’s brain patterns. The longer this occurred, the deeper the comprehension.
Mastering these six secrets gives you the ability to effectively connect with any group of people when sharing your expertise.
I realized recently that I talk to a lot of people about their work. I’ve been training about leading at their work and why you should do it and that everyone needs to do it. I’ve been focused on work, work, work, in a dramatic fashion.
But maybe I need a new word.
I probably need to use the word “effort” instead of work, because I realized recently I don’t work.
I haven’t worked for the last 6 years, at least not by the world’s definition. And I didn’t know this until I saw a quote from author James M. Barrie.
He said, “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
I love that, and I think it’s true.
When I am training or coaching, there is nothing I’d rather be doing. That’s not work.
When I am speaking to an audience, there is nothing I’d rather be doing. That’s not work.
When I am strategizing, there is nothing I’d rather be doing. That’s not work.
Is it hard? Sure. Is it difficult sometimes? Of course. But it’s still not work, it’s effort.
If you want to explore this idea further, let me recommend Dan Miller’s book “48 Days to the work you love“. It will give you some specific steps that could prove to be helpful.
So today, as you think about the dream you’re chasing, ask yourself if you’ve found something that isn’t work. Something that when you’re doing it, there’s nothing else you would rather be doing. Because that’s not work.
Have you heard the latest Gallup Poll about Americans in the workplace? It’s a little sad to read, but most people just aren’t happy at their job.
Just 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, which surveyed more than 150,000 workers during 2012. The rest…not so much. A little more than half of workers (52 percent) have a perpetual case of the Mondays—they’re present, but not particularly excited about their job.
The remaining 18 percent are actively disengaged or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton put it in the report, “roam the halls spreading discontent.” Worse, Gallup reports, those actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity.
If YOU want to be fully ENGAGED – or you LEAD others – I think some solutions lie within our reach. People don’t necessarily require lots of money; in fact, perks like flexibility and time off speak louder than cash often times.
Write and author Tim Elmore shares that we tend to be happiest when:
1. We work on something we believe in.
We often don’t want a job—we want a cause to invest in. Some call this a sense of Purpose. Can you show them how their work is significant and really matters?
2. We are with people we enjoy.
We want to feel like family or friends with those they work alongside. Is there a way you can foster authentic community and still get the job done?
3. We use our primary gifts and talents.
We are more engaged and like work better if we are in our strength zone, applying our gifts to projects that count. Do you let others do this?
4. We can see results.
Our culture is used to immediate feedback, from texts to emails to video games. Can you demonstrate any results from the work they’ve done?
This is just a start. What have you noticed that is magnetic with others at work?
We often find ourselves in places where they we’re not sure what do to do next. What is the next step that needs to be taken. If you’re a leader, you can relate to the anxiety associated with decisions that lack clarity.
Sometimes we are stirred in a certain direction because we “feel” that is the right thing to do, but have little experience and information.
I have found that process evolves around 4 steps…
1. Confusion– Not overwhelming emotionally, but nonetheless we find ourselves here often. Many times it’s because we haven’t invested the necessary time to be quiet, tune out the noise of other distractors, and give laser-like focus to the issue. This takes TIME and a PLACE.
2. Conversation– If we are willing to not settle with walking in our own wisdom, we will have many conversations with others who have more wisdom and/or experience. Talking through the options with others and listening with humility is a tall order. The truth is that the more desperate we are, the more humble we become. Sometimes the “Conversation” includes prayer and reflection quieting yourself and listening to your spirit.
3. Conviction– Is the issue VALUES related? Search your convictions if it is. Values and “Truth North” items should always be listened to closely. If a decision doesn’t align with your values, you become duplicitous (divided). Stay true to your convictions, or soon your leadership will only be about outcomes and money.
4. Construction– This is when you stop waiting and start building. You construct the very vision in your heart. You put each block in place, with wisdom, values and experience by your side to guide. You flow in the strength gained by overcoming past failures. Suddenly the vision becomes a reality in ways you never thought imaginable.
Can you think of another step you have had to take to discover the “next step?”
I recently spoke at a team retreat, and the retreat center was out in the middle of nowhere in southern Indiana.I thought surely I was lost as I kept driving these winding, long uphill roads.I had to pay attention to every turn.
Finally, until after several miles of white-knuckle driving, I came upon Wooden Glen (by the way, I HIGHLY recommend this place).
It reminded me of a quote I heard at a recent talk John Maxwell said: “Success is uphill all the way.” So it is with growing your talents.
You were born with talents. You have certain abilities and strengths that make you unique. One of the great journeys of this life is the discovery of one’s talents. However, discovering your talent is only one leg of the journey. Believing in and growing your talent separates you from the crowd.
All of us have areas of strength. Do you use yours to its highest and best use? The process is not easy, but it is simple. If you want to be at your best, it takes 3 steps:
1.Discovering your talents.
2.Believing in your talents.
3.Growing your talents.
In this post, I am assuming you already have some insights as to what your talents are. The real question then becomes: “Where do I go from here?” I have just a few tips to offer you.
Be willing to put yourself out there. No one ever accomplished anything great who hid their talents. In fact, many believe that you can lose them if you do not use them. It requires courage for you to put yourself out there. You may receive criticism. You might be told you are not good enough. However, accepting feedback, taking courage and making adjustments when needed is where the successful live.
Learn from each experience along the way. Never de-value any milestone, setback, or goal. Do not have your eyes so set on the end goal that you miss the little things along the way. While on our Applachain trail hike, we walked past cool rocks, interesting creatures, and amazing trees. There are so many advantages to slowing down and taking in where you are in the moment.
All successful people have failures. Have you noticed a common thread among successful people? They didn’t always get it right all of the time. Working in your strength areas is not a gurantee for success. However, that is okay. As Zig Ziglar often says, “Failure is not a person, it is an event.” Along our hike, we also saw interesting shiny rocks called “Fool’s Gold.” On the path to success, you will leave behind fool’s gold. Things you thought would lead to success, but they just didn’t work out. No worries. It is just a part of the journey.
Write about your successes. What we don’t write down, we often miss. One of the best ways to grow your talent is through journaling. Journaling allows you to slow down, think about what you have done, and get clarity for the future.
Set 90 day goals to improve your focus. A great way to make sure you are actively engaging your talents is to set short-term goals. For me, 90 day goals work best. Each quarter of the year, I set a few goals I want to accomplish in the next 90 days. This gives me laser focus on an obtainable goal that has a deadline.
I appreciate Jonathon Milligan’s thoughts on the following issue of tension. There is a tension that exists between goals and gratitude. Maybe you have never thought of it this way. I love setting goals. I think everyone ought to have goals in life that they are striving for.
Jonathon states that what we need to realize is that setting goals often “exposes the gap” between where I am and where I want to be. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think if you are not careful you can cross the line and live in ungrateful land.
There is a point that we can become so goal focused that we are never grateful for what we currently have.
Rather we want to admit it or not, we mistakenly think that once we accomplish “x” we will have finally arrived. The best example is an illustration that Anthony Robbins told in a seminar. He asked the audience (using my own words), “At what point do you become wealthy and financially free?” On the front row was a millionaire worth about 3 million dollars. Anthony put the mic in front of the millionaire an asked the question specifically to him. His response to the question: “When I get to 10 million dollars.”
I believe that the missing component to all of our goal setting is to start first by:
▪ Listing what we are truly thankful for
▪ Writing down what we have already accomplished
▪ Showing appreciation to those around us who support us
▪ Giving to those who are less fortunate
▪ Remembering that apart from God we can do nothing
Gratitude will not show up on its own. Gratitude is a mindset and attitude that you have to empower. Make it a part of your daily routine. I’m not perfect at it, but before I start my day I try to take a moment, close my eyes, and think of what I am grateful for.
Someone once taught me four words that you should say to jerks.
They are simple, they are easy, and they are not that fancy.
Whenever someone is a jerk to me, I always say, “You might be right.”
This accomplishes a few things:
1. It admits that maybe they are right. I make mistakes. Maybe I did something wrong. Could this person bring it up without being a jerk? Sure, but just because they were a jerk doesn’t mean they were wrong.
2. It ends the conversation.
3. It releases me from carrying it around all day.
It’s over. I’m done. You might be right.
Maybe you’re not, but I didn’t say, “You are right.” I said “You might be right.”
I’m just not going to give you anymore of my life to figure out if you are.
I have tried to do a Personal Extreme Life Makeover and let me tell you it doesn’t work. When you try to change all of the things that are wrong with your life all at once, you are doomed for failure.
We have a “bootcamp mentality” thinking that self discipline all at once will get us where we want to be in a short period of time. The only way to get to where you want to be in life is by one small habit at a time. The tortoise wins remember?
Now, that does not mean that you pick something so easy that it does not inspire you in the least bit. At the same time, don’t pick the biggest challenge first.
Can small habits make big changes in your life? In this episode, Jonathan offers 4 reasons why starting small works. What small change can you make today that will make a big difference in your life?
Here are a few key principles for understanding why starting small works:
1. It is easier to manage – Having a single focus is just easier to manage. Most of us try to set up an elaborate plan for the new habits we want to start. I know I have. I tell myself all I need is an elaborate spreadsheet where I can track all the things I want to do. Whether it is exercising, keeping the house cleaned up, managing our finances, or organizing our home office. The problem is there is so much “new” to be done that our brains cannot remember it all. When you have one focus for 30 days you have clarity and clarity is power.
2. Gradual change always sticks better – We have all seen the “crash diets,” right? We try to get instant results as fast as we make our instant mash potatoes. Real change just doesn’t happen that way. Slow, gradual changes is what lasts. The problem comes into play when we are not patient. We have so much pain that increases over time from the bad habits that we want to fix everything in one big swoop. We need to combine commitment with patience. If all you have is commitment you will find something else to be committed to. You need to combine commitment with patience in order to have lasting change. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. You get some “wins” under your belt – Some of us get discouraged so quickly. We try starting a new habit and realize that it is hard. Like I have said in other posts, staring a new habit is a lot like trying to fight gravity in the beginning. Don’t start with your biggest challenge first. Start with a simple habit that you have wanted to have in your life. Allow yourself to experience some “wins.” When you do that, it will fuel your fire for bigger challenges in the days ahead.
4. Your mind is more focused – The biggest problem with trying to change your life and go from not being organized at all to to super-organized is that you are trying to focus on too many things.
Ever wonder how the lion tamer in the circus can hold off a lion with a stool? Legend has it that the lion is somewhat paralyzed because there are multiple stool legs coming at him at once. He doesn’t know what to focus on so he ends up not moving at all.
The same happens with you when you try to focus on changing too many bad habits at once. You become paralyzed and discouraged. Instead start with a small habit and focus on it for one month straight. You will get to the rest of it in due time.
Question: What small step can I take NOW so I can create the future I’m so excited about as I enjoy this moment I’m so blessed to have?
Ever watched a really good idea crash and burn? Me too.
Here’s some brutal honesty: Entire movements have gone down in flames because of boneheaded approaches to good ideas. This isn’t to say we can’t afford to make mistakes. In fact, the only way to know we’re taking risks is to make mistakes. We can’t afford not to make them. But we also can’t afford to ignore common-sense leadership practices.
In honor of our most fatal leadership mistakes, here are my “from the hip” ways to kill great ideas. (Warning: sarcasm ahead)
1. Form a committee. In this way, you’ll be able to devote more time to empty note taking and less time to solving problems. Also, we’ll be able to prevent a single great leader from running with the idea without feeling the need to check with several people with different opinions before proceeding.
2. Be sure to control it. Before you even start executing a good idea, be sure to write plenty of rules and parameters so that no one feels the freedom to run too fast with it. Freedom is the enemy when we’re trying to kill good ideas.
3. Devote a lot of time to calculating the costs. Be sure that everyone understands just how much failing can cost us so that we inch along, paralyzed by fear.
4. Assume it’s everyone’s responsibility. If we’re able to say, “Our organization should really be doing this,” it takes the pressure off anyone in particular who might actually take ownership. In this way, no one gets blamed for the death of the idea … at least not individually.
5. Assume it’s your responsibility alone. If we get help, we’ll just saddle people with the burden of investing their time into meaningful pursuits rather than having more free time to not develop their skills and talents.
6. Vote on it. This will give everyone a sense of power and let them decide that they’re “against” the idea even if it isn’t something they understand. After all, majorities of people are usually smart, right? Besides, in the end, it’s really about keeping as many people as possible happy.
7. Avoid learning from others who have acted on similar ideas. Never ask people who have succeeded or failed before. It’s better to re-invent the wheel, take full credit (or blame) in the end and brag on how much we’ve been able to do (or not do) all on our own.
8. Keep young people out of it. They’re all too inexperienced and unwise to lead anything. Besides, do the voices of the young really matter? I thought they were meant to be seen and not heard … or valued.
9. Keep old … advanced … experienced people out of it. After all, they’re just all grumpy, afraid of change and set in their old-fashioned ways. Their years of wisdom and experience will just complicate matters.
10. Take a little more time to talk about your intentions for the good idea. As long as you’re intending to do something good, it’s as good as doing it, except that it never gets done. But you will have meant well when it’s all said and not done.
I’m guilty of at least a majority of these at one time or another in my own leadership, so I’m not writing out of arrogance but in confession.